tv Charlie Rose PBS June 30, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
. >> welcome to the program, i'm allison stewart filling in for charlie rose. we begin with politics and a talk with shannon pettypiece, white house correspondent for bloomberg news. >> after all of the pleas from republicans to dial back the tweets which have been going on for months now, even the president's close friends have been privately encouraging him to dial back the tweets, he just leaned in to the, you know, across the line tweets even further with a personal attack on someone that fits right in the vein of cyberbullying and essentially saying, if you attack me, or if you disagree with me, i will come out and very personally attack you in your most sensitive places on twitter, and make it a public feud. >> we continue with john
prideaux u.s. editor of the economist about his report titled trump's america. >> in 20, 30, 40s area's time, people will be saying about the trump presidency, how did that happen. and one way to answer that is to look at the campaign, campaign staff, the tweets, what is happening in the white house, what is happening on capitol hill. there is an entirely different way of looking at it which is kind of the bottom up position. what did trump supporters think they were getting out of this deal. what, if anything, could he do that might upset them and turn them off him. and really where is the kind of limits of their support for him. >> we conclude with the director and two stars of the film "the little hours." >> they're girls and women that were kind of forced, you know, into being nuns back in that day. not everyone that was a nun was religious. so they definitely have a lot of pent up aggression for those reasons. >> politics, trump's america and qult the little hours "when we
continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: bank of america, life better connected. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> good evening, charlie is traveling. i'm allison stewart. we begin this evening with politics and another eventful week washington. the supreme court upheld portions of president trump's travel ban on monday. the justices agreeing to hear the full case in october. on tuesday mitch mcconnell withdrew the senate's health
care legislation following growing opposition among conservative party leaders. earlier today the white house confirmed that president trump will meet with russian president vladimir putin next week at the g20 summit in germany. joining me from washington is shan on pettypiece, a white house correspondent for bloomberg news, a lot went on. let's get to the travel ban. the state department issued new guide lines to embassies and consulates for people who are applying to come to the united states from six predominantly muslim countries. what are the guide lines saying? >> essentially what the supreme court said was that if you had some sort of connection to the united states, you could be allowed to come into the country if you were from-- were from one of these banned countries. what a connection means, was sort of where the confusion lied and where the interpretation was. the state department said basically if you have a close relative, a father, a mother, a
son, an in-law, you could come to the country under, despite this ban being in place. other people though, even people with distant relatives, that wasn't going to be enough to get you in the country. >> who is going to make this determination when the person comes to the country, when the person applies for a visa, when is it going to happen. >> the determination is basically going to be done by the administration, by the state department, by customs border patrol and homeland security. so it's gone through the legal process. it will be difficult to challenge it from a lower court because you do have that supreme court ruling. so now it is up to the administration and that is the guide lines issued today by the state department were saying. >> the first time this issue came up civil rights attorneys flooded the airports preparing to help people as they land. what are groups like the aclu and civil rights organizations saying about this? >> the prediction is where that was sort of a fast trainwreck, this will more be like a slow
motion trainwreck. that there will likely continue to be individual cases that get contested, that get disputed, that play out in the courts. not a sort of broad challenge like we saw in the courts earlier, maybe more on an individual case by case basis. >> let's go on to president trump's tweet today. there is one tweet in particular which a lot of people have been talking about. and a lot of people have condemned it was a very personal and abrasive tweet against journalist mika brzezinski from msnbc, who i have to say is someone i know. both democrats and republicans have been critical of this tweet. which doesn't often happen to the president currently. did he cross some line with the republicans who have been supporting him? >> after all of the pleas from republicans to dial back the tweets, which has been going on for months now, even the president's close friends have been privately encouraging him to dial back the tweets, he just
leaned in to the, you know, across the line tweets even further with a personal attack on someone, that fits right in the vein of cyberbullying, and essentially saying, if you attack me, or if you disagree with me, i will come out and very personally attack you, in your most sensitive places on twitter. and make it a public feud. it comes at a time when yesterday we were talking about could republicans and democrats come together in trying to get everybody to unite for a health-care bill because we have real problems in this country with health care. that was the talk yesterday. and today, you know, complete division. you know, dem kralts-- democrats moving even further away from the president, if they thought for a second they were going to try and work with them, it completely repels them, republicans and members of the president's own party also coming out saying stop, this is
unacceptable. this is not reflective of what the president of the united states should be saying. >> mr. trump has said some abrasive and aggressive things before and people have suspected that he mile back down. but he hasn't. and sometimes it is even buoyed him with his base. how has the base reacted so far? >> in surveys, it is usually around 20 or 30% of people say they like the president's tweets. that he should keep tweeting, that they are okay with it. the vast majority of americans, 60, 70 percent would like to see him stop, or not stop completely but dial it back. bring it into the presidential realm. however, as i have talked to people close to the president about this, they do feel that there is this sense, as you mentioned, he has to show to the base that he is still the guy you elected. that you didn't send him to washington and he became a swamp creature and changed and started putting out these politically correct tweets. he feels like he feeds to maintain who he is and that awe then tissity and he can't do that pivot and shift because it
would alienate his base and supporters. and he hasn't really seen any negative repercussions from these tweets. he did this for years. he is president. you know, maybe you could say it has hurt his agenda show by creating distractions but it's also hard to prove that. so where is the negative, reinforce-- reinforcement to tell him to stop. >> let's move to next week. will meet with vladimir putin at the g20 summit in germany. do we know what will be on the agenda? >> we don't. but this would be a prime moment to bring up russian interference in our elections and the cyberhacking and attacks that russia has been carrying out in the united states. there is a desperate hope from the foreign policy community in the u.s., from members of congress that the president will take this opportunity to say to putin, as president obama said in his last meeting, knock it off, to send a strong signal
that trying to interfere in our selections is not acceptable. we don't know if the president is going to go that far and say that. because he has shown hesitation about making a big issue about russian interference in his election and the feeling, those close to the president say is that he is concerned it will undermine his presidency if he really acknowledges that russians played a role in influencing the election. collusion aside. but just with, you know, fake news and you know tweet bots and all of that, that that sort of interference by the russians could be enough to rattle or delegitimize his presidency a bit. that is the concern. >> there has been some reporting that president trump has reportedly tasked the national security council to come up with some bargaining chip, something that he can bring to this meeting to use. what would something like that be? >> one could be syria. one, really, you know, there is this desire to try and strike a deal in syria.
so if we can work out a deal in syria, maybe it could say well, we'll ease off sanctions which congress and the senate are working hard to strengthen sanctions and not make that happen. so one could be to ease off sanctions, to tell russia we'll state out of your human rights. we'll give you some leverage to do what you want in your own country and won't go after you there. that is something, a message that he has kind of signaled to other countries saying we'll layoff human rights. we won't make a big issue of that publicly. give us a little bit bit of something else. >> there has been some reporting that the president of the united states and nse maybe aren't necessarily on the same page when it comes to confessions, what does each side think and where don't they agree? >> there's constant people on different sides and pages of this administration, within nse which is a very diverse group of people, state department with rex tillerson, he's butted heads with the president and the white house recently. and of course other members of congress all have their own
views on foreign policy. so this white house by design, there is a lot of diverse opinions in there. gary cohen on the economic side is really a democrat. jared kushner really leans to the left. and of course you have the steve bannon nationalists ideology. you have generals who, you know, like general mattis who, you know, come from a perspective, from the military. so there is always butting heads, there is always conflict. of course at the end of the day it is trump, as president who will make this final decision and it is going to be up to him. >> how important is next week? the meeting between putin and trump? >> i think that-- i think that week is going to be crucial because this russia cyberthreat is real. not only in interfering in our elections but in hacking other aspects of the american infrastructure. there are threats of hacks on the banking system, on the electric grid. so that is a very real threat
there. obviously there is a threat from russia on, after the invasion of crimea and further expansionary visions that the russians might have. it's also crucial too, as relations go with nato and with other european leaders, at the g7 meeting, the president's last trip, there were some sense moments between germany and france and mato members and the president. so this is a chance to repair and rebuild some of those relationships and encourage nato and europe that you have a strong ally in the u.s. who is going to be there and defend you against a potential threat from a country like russia. >> correspondent shannon pettypiece reporting from washington for bloomberg news, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> donald trump's victory in the 2016 election took some of the nation by surprise. his support from palm beach to kansas has remained largely unwaivering despite the issues that have so far plagued the
administration. a new special report in the economist, trump's america, examines the forces that lead to the president's rise and why politics may be forever changed. john prideaux a u.s. editor of the economist is also the reports lead author and spent several weeks in states across the country to better understand the mentality of the president's sted fast backing. i'm pleased to welcome him to this program. hi, john. >> hi, allison. >> what prompted this? >> i was interested in looking at the trump phenomenon from the kind of bottom up rather than the top down. it really feels to me like in 20, 30, 40 years time people will be saying about the trump presidency, how did that happen. and there is one way of answering that which is to look at the campaign, the campaign staff, the tweets, you know, what is happening in the white house, what is happening on capitol hill. and there is an entirely different way of looking at it which is the bottom up question. what did trump supporters think they were getting out of this deal. what, if anything, could he do that might upset them and turn them off him. and really where is the kind of
limits of their support for him. >> how did you decide where to go and to whom to speak. >> i try to get a mix of places, so when we talk about the trump phenomenon in politics, the kind of first thing that springs to mind is down scale voters in perhaps west virginia, the appalacha that used to have lots of coal and now don't. he did do well in those places. he also did really, really well in some very fancy upscale parts of new york and in parts of manhattan, not too far from where we are filming this. bits of palm beach, mar-a-lago. the thing that really struck me is that if you talk it trump voters in these very dimp locals, what they say about the president is actually very similar. they say, you know, he is a businessman, he's not a typical politician. you know, he is a good man. the media is being tough on him. you all need to give him more time to do what he wants to do. the whole russia investigation is made up. et cetera. and so that kind of consistency
of worldview prompted a question for me which is well, if people aren't voting on kind of pocket book issues, they are not really voting on economics, it seems to me, what are they voting on. >> well, what is his appeal. you kind of come to the conclusion that it is his appeal. what is it? >> i think that's right. i think that he has pioneered a kind of white identity politics. the minute you come out with a phrase like that, it sounds like you are accusing trump supporters of being racist, this is not what i am trying to do i think america has become a much less racist country over the past few decades. you look at support for interracial marriage and polling, i think there is a ton of progress am but at the same time, you know, politics has become if anything even more sort of racialized. if you look at some of the surveys of trump voters, particularly, there is this big study, the american national election study which is done every presidential year. if you look at that, a large majority of people who voted for donald trump say that whites in america need to work together in
order to under do laws that are unfair to other whites. if that is not a kind of white identity politics, i don't know what is. >> that is an interesting phrase, laws that are unfair to whites, what falls under that category. >> i imagine it would be things like affirmative action, a few other federal programs like this. but this is consistent with what quite a lot of socialiol guest researchers have found in parts of rural america, and strangers in their own land found this sense of kind of mourning on the part of some white rural americans for a sort of time that is lost. a time when sort of men were on top where it seemed easier to come out of high school and go straight into a job which you were then secure for life, and you know, you could afford a car, family holidays and all those sorts of things. and so trump clearly taps into that. but as i say, if you pick that as the limits of trump support,
you miss this whole kind of upscale trump voting phenomenon which to me is kind of as interesting. >> one of the things about the racial issue as you described it white nationalist politics, if you get a group of people of color together they will say oh, that's always been there. it's just that there has now, someone, a leader saying it is okay to express that. that this is not something that is necessarily gone away or gotten better but for awhile it was something that you weren't allowed to express out loud. when you spoke to people, did you get any sense that they were willing to talk about brown people and black people in a different way? >> so people who i ask this question to directly will, a little bit defensive. often they went out of the way to make the point of how they personally didn't hold racist views and so forth. but i had a really interesting experience along these lines am i was in a town called coleman which is in northern alabama and it is a largely white town, it was founded by descendants of german immigrants.
and almost everyone there votedded for donald trump. i was talking to the mayor of coleman and talking to him about this. i said listen, how much of this is about race. he said it really doesn't have anything to do with race. there is this town nearby here called colonnee which is entirely african-american, and all the folks there voted for donald trump too. so i thought hang on. >> when you heard that. >> i got straight in my car and headed down the road to kol knee. >> good reporter. >> and colony was fascinating because it was a little town founded after reconstruction at a time when some freed slaves were able to get 40 acres and a mule. not that many people got that deal but some did. and so the settlement had been there since the late 19th century. and it is and an entirely african-american sort of small town alabama place. irwent around there talking to people about how they view politics. and they also agreed that race was much less of a problem in america. you know, some of them had memories of schools being desegregated and so forth.
some of the old folks i talked to there. but i looked at the voters almost everyone voted for hillary clinton there is something interesting going on. america has become i think less racist on most objective measures but politics has become, if anything, more racialized. >> what do you think is least understood about this group? about the devout trump supporter? >> i think the thing that is least understood, i can say-- i will cheat a bit and say two things. one, i think if you just looked at trump rallies and in the 2016 campaign and read across from that archetypal trump supporters you might think of very large men in sort of biker jackets and tattoos shouting, lock her up. the typical trump supporter a, is a typical republican. 90% of people who voted for mitt romney went on to vote for donald trump. is much more polite, small town america where i spent most of my time doing this reporter is a very polite, you know, nice
place. the trump supporters i met were kind of unfailingly kind, nice and polite. so this idea that it is some tremendous, angry sort of upsurge of emotion, i think isn't quite right. and then the second thing just briefly, people like me who spend their time looking at kind of public policy have a big tendency to overestimate how much people actually know about politics, how closely they are following politics. and about 20%, it seems of americans follow politics pretty closely. for the rest they aren't paying a lot of attention going on, and it is easy to forget that when you are a news junkie like me. >> what is interesting and a little sad was that some of the people you talked to didn't even have a basic understanding about which party stood for what. >> so this, again, i found this really striking. it is the case when you talk to voters, often, they jump all together a whole load of points of view that don't fit neatly into one party or the other, i found.
but yet they are often consistent republicans or consistent democrats. for them what i did was try and find out, was that just a few people in my notebook or is there, is that true of like, is there some research that backs this up. and again the american national election study which was a great big study of voters says that about 30% of people who voted in 2016 can't place republicans and democrats on a left right axis. if you say which of these parties is in favor of more spending and which of these parties is in favor of kind of cutting spending, about 30% of voters are not quite sure. a decent number of trump voters pin 2016 thought that the democrats were the more conservative party than the republicans. and a not insignificant number of hillary clinton voters also thought democrats were more conservative than republicans. so this kind of really neat categories that i use, i say i used them the whole time as a writer, as a reporter, they
suggest a legal of political knowledge which is not entirely accurate. >> i want to go back to something, it is something i am stuck on. when you describe the trump voters as kind and nice and we discussed this, i had spent some time with some trump voters who are lovely people, really cared about their family. as someone whose parents went to segregated schools and i'm not a dinosaur, so it wasn't that long ago, how did the trump voters square with sort of-- the sort of haze of racism that was especially around the the campaign. >> i think the first thing is they probably deny it's there. and they don't hear the same things that maybe voters with your family's experience or voters with, whose parents might have emigrated from elsewhere, hear. so i think there's a-- the dial is adjusted differently. they don't think it's there. they don't think that their own
personal lives are prejudice. and then there is a whole line of argument that is as well, civil rights era was a long time ago, which of course it wasn't. and shouldn't the playing field just be entirely leveled. you know, what is it with all this affirmative action. is this some kind of plot against my family and my children. >> so they feel that the playing field is now on level, at their disadvantage, that they are the victimized in some way group. >> yeah, i think that's right. i think it's comes across in race. i think it is also a bit of it in agenda. so one of the things that was surprising in a way about last year's election was how little it was about agenda. all the very large levels of supports, even among college educated republican women for donald trump. quite a lot of trump supporters, if you look again at the survey data, think that it is better if a man is out there working and a woman is at home. you know t is a kind of social
conservative ism, not a sort of abortion, gay marriage sort of way. a kind of social conservatism of the 1950s. quite often these are women who themselves are working and you know, don't necessarily particularly want to be. they would rather have a situation where their husbands were out being the bread winner. so that was something that fascinated me as well. and again it kind of scrambles your categories a little bit once you go around talking to people. >> it sounds like you talked to people without were a bit nostalgic. >> yeah, i think nostalgia is a huge thing. i think make america great again is an incredibly nostalgic message. a very surprising message of me as a for foreigner. the first rule of american electorate politics i was told was you need to be the most forward looking, the funniest, the more sitting on the hill kind of candidate and you have this dorch ald trump who, early on was going around saying america is a hellhole. you know, going down fast. and the whole appeal make
america great again, nobody is being quite specific on when it was great, or at least the president hasn't. but yeah, deeply, it is a deeply backward looking, deeply nostalgic appeal. and it's very powerful. >> one of the things that i thought was particularly interesting that you pointed out in your piece, your report, was that the way people vote depends on their educational level, right? the more education you have, the you tend to be more progressive, the less education, more conservative. this feels like it is a self-perpetuating cycle because you are tbing to have educated folk saying we know better how to run the country than you people out there, and people with education, you don't know what it is like really here to live in this world, you elitist folks over there. and it goes around and around and around. from your conversation, was there anything you could see that would break that cycle? >> i think as you rightly observe it's really hard to get out of it it is partly because if a political divide is over
something like what should the income tax rate be, you can imagine coming to some kind of compromise about that. when a political divide becomes about what sort of person are you, it becomes a heck of a lot harder to bridge. and one of the things i did when i was reporting this was spend some time in a very well educated district in virginia virginia eight, the area around arlington, something like 35% of voter there have post graduate degrees t is kind of a superzip code, for hillary clinton by miles. the next day i spent time in west virginia, three, which is the opposite ends. scale. and you know, people with very low levels of education, relative to west virginia eight, and the big, big trump supporter territory. and the kind of mutual antipathy that you described there is really powerful. west virginia three is the real kind of coal mining place. a lot of people you talk to there think that the declining coal mining jobs instead of deliberately chosen by the fancy
people with post graduate degrees in virginia. you know, the level of kind of mistrust, you know, kind of bordering on hatred, i would say, is something that shocked me. >> it's also a level of not understanding each other. coming from both sides. truly because they live very different lives. a lot of this is also about prox imity, urban versus rural, as much as anything else. >> they do, allison, as you say live very different lives. and you see that, at its most notice life expectancy numbers. i mean these two congressional districts i was talking about, the average male life expectancy in bits of west virginia three, one particular county i was in, is 16 and a half years lower than it is in virginia's eight district around articlington. these places are about less than 200 miles apart. and the difference is
extraordinary, frankly. >> something that i hadn't really thought about and it was really interesting to read in your report was what you described as the california effect. this sort of, we've all sort of made it new york, and the south or the northeast and the south but there is really an important part about the california con tinning-- contingent of the trump administration andetteos. >> that's right. i think if you look back in the 1990s in california it was very wrenching time for racial politics. and you know, the republican party for a certain time i think tried to play on resentment against the sort of rising latino minority. there was a lot of politicking around spanish language in schools. and you know immigration and so forth. and then at a certain point the republican party sort of made peace with all of that. and but there were a whole load of california conservatives who were on the losing side of that
argument. who effectively i think took it to washington. and the white house is full of sort of californian refugees, people like steve bannon who spent time there in hollywood as a film producer. steven miller who works with him very closely at the white house. quite a lot of those sort of breitbart tendency within the white house seems to have grown up within sort of white, california, that didn't particularly like the way that that state had changed. racially. and has taken that fight naltly. >> we're talking on a day when the president of the united states tweeted something very personal about a member of the news media. is there anything that president trump can do, does he have any achilles heel with his base? is there anything he can do, say, that would really shake their support? >> i think that he has a huge amount of latitude with them. i have to say. partly on things like this, you
know, people i talk to about the tweeting often said things like, we don't really like it. we wish he was a president-- bit more presidential but will qualify that by saying but, the news media is out to get him and it is a way for him to get his message across. so we don't really like it, but hey, it's part of who he is. and he is an unconventional politician and we like that. so it almost feels to me that once people have made the decision to support a particular candidate, they are able to kind of bend the way they view the world in order to kind of fit, you know, in order to fit. >> from the left and the right. >> on the left and the right. i agree, this is clearly, you know, i was writing mainly about trump supporters. but i think the same thing happens on the left. i mean one of the kind of starkest illustrations of this, if you look at, on a kind of policy issue, attitudes towards russia. it used to be the case that the republican party was the, you know, the anti-communist party, the hostile to russia party, the
most, you know, vladimir putin was a big boeingy man. donald trump wins the nomination, gets elected and all of a sudden a big lot of republican voters have a much more favorable view of vladimir putin and democratic votersers d head in the opposite direction. this is a kind of, both sides do this. so i'm sorry, that is a rather long answer to your question. i was much more struck by the latitude he has. and clearly he made the swroak about being able to shoot somebody in the streets and people would forget him. i don't think that is the casement but within the realms of kind of normal politics, i think he could get away with pretty much anything. >> he's their guy. >> yeah, he's their guy. >> and and that's a more powerfl thing. so again, imagine you are a coal minor in west virginia. so lots of democrats didn't understand why people in coal mining towns in west virginia voted for a kind of billionaire who showed up there and said you know, guys, you are going to
have your coal jobs back. democrats said what, the president can't do that. he doesn't get to command the world price of coal. and you know, anyway coal comes from wyoming these days. and america's got a ton of natural natural gas from fracking socker this is kind of hux terrism. but it is so much more powerful to turn up in a town and say, you know, i'm going to dot thing you really want than it is to turn up in a town and say you know, i've got these initiatives, a swrb retraining and so forth. even though those things might be more helpful, kind of politically, it comes back again as a kind of identity who is on your side and who is the on the other o side. and i think donald trump has a kind of genius for convincing people that he is on their side and it's really powerful stuff in politics. >> what do you anticipate the next few years with the trump administration? do you anticipate continued support? do you anticipate a re-election?
>> the thing that has struck me so far is that looking at the first five or so months of the trump presidency, you know, you've got the attempt to repeal and replace obamacare which is in a mess in congress at the moment. you've got a special council looking at what's been happening at the white house. you have various promises that the president made on building the wall, on you know tearing up nafta that has been sort of kicked into the long grass. you would have thought given that, that a lot of his supporters would have given up on him by now. and that hasn't really been the case. there is a bit of movement in the polls, south for him, approval ratings the week after he was inaugurated. since then it has been pretty stable. my hunch is that people are not going to desert him en masse and after re-election, i mean t is obviously too early to say. but in my opinion, people are too quick to underestimate the possibility that he could be releched in 2020. people look at his approval
ratings and say well, they're pretty loudy-- lousy even though the economy is strong. imagine where they will be in a few years time. i don't know, i think people are being too quick to write him off. there is a real kind of power to what he has been able to do which is, i think, you know, not like something we've seen before in american, in an american president. and my concern, because i would say, it is something that worries me, is that it could be quite-- prove quiend kind of more enduring than people think. >> john prideaux, trump's america, fascinating read. thanks so much. >> thanks, allison. the little hours is a new film from writer director jeff baena. it is inspired by the decameron, the 14th century italian collection of novelas written by gee van aye bucaccio. audrey plaza allison b brie are nun-- the nuns see an opportunity to let out frus rations when a run away ster
servant dave franco takes rev geuj in their con vent. they call it a faction fares played by some of the defendantest clowns in the english speaking world. here is a look. >> hi, dad. >> hi, sweetheart. i know how eager you are to be married. but maybe that's not your calling. >> what is going on with sister all sandra. >> prob leigh day dreaming about some guy that will take her away from her. >> did he just smile at you. >> i don't know, why is he smiling who is that. >> i don't know? >> sister fer nanda sister alessandra, sister maria, these are your sins. >> bling bling, do my own thing. >> a piece of language. >> they call me a jew. >> lustfulness, homosexuality, did you roll your eyes? you are were rolling your eyes. >> wake up, let me show you how
to live. >> i slept with another man's wife. >> one of you sluts think he's quite the jester. >> did you hear what i said. >> these girls can be tough, i'm not going to lie. they can be very tough. >> why-- . >> physically, they attacked people. >> you know who my father. is you think you can talk. >> respect my business. >> bling bling, do my own thing. >> is it true you have never been touched by a man. >> no, never. >> it's the greatest pleasure we know. >> looking out for my mama. >> mortal sin, you wouldn't get into heaven. >> then you probably shouldn't do it. >> what is wrong with her. >> she dub-- . >> the longest list i have ever had. >> a harrisy, reveling. >> eating blood? do you think i've ever written down eating blood before? where am i?
>> i'm pleased to have writer, director jeff baena and stars aubrey plaza and dave franco at this table. so you have the rare distinction of being someone who is able to use their college studies in their work. you were a medieval studies, you had a minor in it and you were able to apply it to film by using the decameron. were you in a class on secretary all transgretions in medieval literature. >> sexual transgretion in the renaissance, yeah. >> so when you first read this stoy, what made you think or when did you think i can apply this to film? >> well, when i first read it i was kind of whroan away by the history of it because i think growing up in america we are not really familiar with what is t is like in the middle ages because we are a 200 year old country but the thing that blew me away the most was just how, i guess, the people back in that day weren't the way we thought they were. they weren't super religious zelouts, often they were forlsed into that tradition and you
know, whether they were the youngest daughter or the, like divorcees or spins steres or their dad wanted to have favor with the church, they were sort of stuck in this life. and they didn't want to be there and they were rebelling all the time. so we were in this class for sort of reading about what it was like for those people. and reading the pententals which were the catholic punishments and that irony of what we think that they are and the way that they really are, that sort of tension, i always wanted to do something with it. so it kind of was in the back of my mind for years and an opportunity weren'ted itself to make it happen and i jumped on it. >> so is that why medieval lit ture is sort of bawdy and racy. i always wondered that. >> a lot of it is, specifically-- was taking an approach that i think was more humanistnd sort of cutting through, i guess, sort of the fake aura of what people were like and how they truly were. and you know, his whole goal i think to some extent was sort of taking these people that we assume are these like high fall
outin religious people and ultimately showing that there was a certain amount of hypocrisy and pent up repression that is didn't really have a chance to be discussed in his time. >> was that your goal too. >> yeah, pretty much so. >> let's talk about the nuns in this film, aubrie. they are sort of like these mean girls, medieval mean girls in a way. >> i mean i guess you could describe them that waway. they are, you know, they're girls and women that were kind of forced, you know, into being nuns back in that day. not everyone that was a nun was religious. so they definitely have a lot of pent up aggression for those reasons. >> your character especially. she seems pretty salty, and saucy. >> yeah. sister fer nanda yes. she, i think she sees herself as
a protecter of the other sisters. she is definitely a more dominant force. >> one of the things that i loved and laughed out loud in the first 20 seconds of dialogue, the nuns are cursing. >> uh-huh. >> was that intentional to just hit it right out of the gate to let people know this film is go i a little different to be prepared. >> it was for laughs but the overall approach was to make it feel con semp -- contemporary with dialogue, more kol oak yal so that way we sort of i guess identify with these people as opposed to seeing them as something that is more regard iified. and when he wrote the book he wrote it in floor entien dialect so it was written for the people as opposed to in latin which most books were written in that way. and so it was less like a joke, a running joke and more a way of sort of humanizing these people and for us to be able to connect with them. and i he had options, people speaking with a british accent or italian accent. all of them sort of seemed like the wrong choice.
and i think with the speed and tone of the comedy that i was trying to attempt, i thought the best way was to achieve that was have people talk the way we talk now. that way we would identify with them more. >> dave, you have perhaps a most challenging part in the movie because for a good part of it, you don't speak. >> right. >> your character pretends to be a deaf mute. >> yes. >> so when are you thinking about that, as your character development because we do meet you at the beginning. >> uh-huh. >> and then you fall silent, how did you prepare for that, how did you decide you were going to play that? >> it was the thing or the aspect of the character that i was definitely most nervous about. and i had several conversations with jeff about it just because i was nervous that i was just going to be sitting there in scenes doing nothing, just blank face doing nothing. but ultimately he had me think about it in a different way. where he had me approach it as more of a challenge, that you know, i have to get across all these emotions without speaking,
by pretending i can't hear everyone and hopefully that comes across in, you know, the reactions on my face. but it definitely was difficult. and i give jeff a lot of credit because i leaned on him during those scenes a lot to make sure that what i was thinking came across in my face. >> talking about faces. for the three actresses, you really have to use your face a lot. because you are covered up from head to toe in the habits. >> all we got was this, for most of the movie. >> so when you were rehearsing did you just concentrate on this, initially. did you realize that was the case or did that come to you after oh my gosh, afterward robe, here i am. >> no, we didn't really have rehearsals. so that was something that, you know, once we put fully all the wardrobe on we were kind of like wow, okay. here we go. like it just kind of happened. >> you are lucky you got three actresses with like the greatest eyes. ann hardtaway, olivia wilde who
has big eyes like that, that expressive. let's take a look at a clip with you being sister fer nanda and people get a sense of who she is a little bit from that. >> what's going on with sister alessandra, she seems so out of it. >> i don't know, her dad's probably visiting or something. >> again? >> yeah [bleep] delusional. >> yeah, she's so delusional. >> she's prophetic. >> just because your dad gives money to a con vent doesn't mean you will get everything you want. >> yeah. >> i walked in on her the other day and she was lit literally stairs out the window for ten minutes, not moving. >> really. >> probably day dreaming about some guy that is going to magically come and take her away from here. like good luck. >> i know. so what was mother maria saying to you earlier?
>> nothing. mind your own [bleep] business. >> how was that for you, in terms of being in a location in italy, in a remote part of tus cannee. where can i see that in your performance that you were there and that you were caring very much about the historical accuracy? >> i don't know. i mean it was great. it felts, everything felt real. we were, you know, walking around the grounds of a 14th century con vent that we were shooting in. so it was great for acting. and for getting into those characters, i think. dragging that, pulling the donkey down the hill and you know, like that was kind of definitely a moment where i was like wow, this is really hard. like those people kind of had to do a lot of, crazy stuff. so it was helpful. >> yeah, i think a lot of people
will try to reduce this movie to like a raunchy nun comedy. but 3ecause of where we shot and because of the effort that swref put into to make it all historically accurate, it really is like a beautiful art film disguised as this raunchy comedy. and so i don't know, i think that adds to the comedy when you are in these beautiful locations that are shot so well and we're playing everything very seriously as opposed to trying to play into the jokes. >> i read somewhere that you described jeff as having a strong point of view. >> yeah. >> and that really drew you to the project. tell me what you mean about that and why that is useful to you as an actor. >> because with a direct thary is what you want, you want somebody that knows exactly what they want. and with jeff, he just i done know how to describe it exactly. but he sees the world in a unique amazing way.
and i just want to jump on board with those people and i want to take them on this journey. i could never come up with myself and am curious to see it through his eyes. >> i slept wither in man's wife. is he a noble man and he is my master. >> that is adultery. >> i know. >> it is a very serious sin. >> sometimes she would place her mouth around my sex. >> that ised so omy. >> it is also consideredded so omy if i place my mouth on her sex while she sultly had her mouth around mine? >> why would you do that? >> because, because she liked it. >> that is dave franco in the little hours. is he joining us with aubrey
plaza and jeff baena, the director of the film. some people understand this was an outline of the decameron story you made. and then it has been described as improvisation. but you as a director clearly shaped the film and the direction and the narrative. so how does that work? you as a director with a strong point of view, and outlined in improv. >> i think improve vacation is a really big generic term that is a spectrum. so there are movies where people straight up don't know what the scene is before they get into it. and then i think my approach is a little bit more mannered. so the line is was detailed and broke down what people were saying so it wasn't one sentence line, it was spelled out what each person was saying. i didn't want the actual lines written for them. i wanted it to be in their own words. so for the first like. >> why? >> there is something that kind of feels con triefed, i feel like, when the actors are forced to say certain lines that maybe wouldn't be natural to them.
and i personally in my first movie i tried really hard to make the dialogue written in such a way that it feels the way people talk. so that people are trailing off. there is a lot of overlapping dialogue and then i realize a faster way of doing that is to actually have the actors inspired to say their lines and have a little bit of unknown added to it, so when they are saying their lines and the actors are waiting to say their lines, the response, they are not anticipating and waiting for them to finish but actually listening and more present. and i try that with my second movie and really like the results. so i wanted to try it again on this movie and i also thought adding to the fact that this is spoasessed to have a kol oak yal-- kol oak wall feel, it would be kind of a nice counterpoint to the sort of film making where you are in a beautiful location that is period. and so we generally would have like three or four takes and i would shape the performances and uff out.ell them to edit somer by the time we were on the third or fourth take we were pretty much locked in for the rest of
the coverage it wasn't the kind of thing where we were just throwing stuff on a wall and seeing what would stick. it was more a tool for the dialogue specifically to sound like it was coming more authentically from the performers. >> what did you learn about yourself as an actor from this process? >> i learned that there are all different kinds of improv, i guess. i learned that yeah, it's a really different-- it's a different kind of movie and style that i have ever been in before. so i learned a lot about how i am in that situation. and how i can kind of -- it in my own plan for what i came up with for the character but kind of collaborate with the director on every scene and try to kind of weave those together and it is a different kind of process.
and it is challenging but rewarding in different ways than i'm used to. >> the time frame for this film was fairly week, right, 20 days. what effect does that have on you as actors and the work you do if you know you have a limited amount of time and this las to get done. >> yeah, i mean, i guess that adds a little bit of pressure. but you try not to think about it. i mean, again, it's like jeff knew what he wanted. he knew what he needed from us. and he guided us in a really specific way. and one thing that he was doing in just bringing it back to the improv is in a lot of movies where there is improv it's like the actors are being on these long tan gents that have nothing to do with driving the story forward and jeff made sure we did not do that. he really simplified everything. >> you are a producer and an actor so you have those two competing elements going on. you know that you have to get this film done but are you also need to protect your skill and your craft and what you are
working on. how did you balance the two? >> i would say you know, once we started shooting, i was just really focusing on being an actor. in preproduction i had different, you know, things that i helped do some research on. the nun services, the chapel services, because those obviously needed dialogue as well. and wasn't going to improvise-- but while we were shooting, you know, i think being a producer, takerring on that role in this film was a little bit like you know, almost like hosting the cast and the crew with jeff. like we had this group of pem in the middle of nowhere in tus cannee, we're trying to keep this ship afloat an anticipate disasters and think on our feet. and just kind of make, you know, good choices and take care of
everywhere one. i think that is kind of the overall, you know, like description of what happens as a producer on a movie like that. and so for me it was mostly about acting but then i with kind of, you know, help in whatever way i could. >> within setting the tone. >> setting the tone, taking pictures. i was the set photographer some days. >> she named the movie. >> it is, you know, whatever needs to be done. >> in the discussion of the film and in the promotion of the film you folks have embraced some of the criticism, you have taken it on as a badge of honor, some of the criticism from various catholic groups. before you started the film, did you folks as producer and director and as friends, sit down and, say okay, this is what we are doing. we know this could have be thorny for some people. what were those conversations like? >> i honestly wasn't overthinking that kind of stuff. i mean when, it didn't really
occur to me until we were getting locations in italy that we had to tell people it was called the little hours and that it not an adaptation of the decameron. >> because they knew. >> even though the book was written in 1350 it still does ruffle feathers initially it say pretty catholic country. and i think it is a really important part of their culture in history but at the same time, i think it is still a big bit troafertionzal. so that was sort of when it kind of was a reality check that maybe some people would be getting offended by this. but for me it was more an expression of what really was happening. and the history of that area and of course, you know, people will choose to not want to look at the past but for me i feel like shine a light on it, it is super interesting. >> how about for you, aubrie? >> i feel the same way. i never tout about it, you know, as-- i never thought like oh, we're about to do something that is going to really upset people. like you know, it is based on the decameron trk has been around for hundreds and hundreds
of years. so that stuff was kind of irrelevant. >> you were focus on the historical impact and aspect of the film rather than the. >> yeah, i mean i was just focusing on the characters. i mean yes, they happened to be nuns and they happened to be in church and all of that. but i think the point of the movie is that they have a lot of other things going on. and that's what was interesting to me. >> you lead me to my last question. and dave, you sort of mentioned it earlier, describe sort of the plot of the movie. so we know what the plot of the movie but what is the movie about. >> the movie is just about people connecting in a time when there was more repression, when the patriarchy was even harsher, and despite that, they are able to sort of find themselves and find their voice and reach out and are able to express themselves in the little moments that they could. and i ultimately wanted it have an understanding that people in history are people. and they're not some rarefied
robotic oughtoam trons that we think of them as being and they had just as rich of an interior life as we do. an if there is anyway to sort of bridge that cass. between us and history that is what i was trying to do with this move wree quns aubrey plaza dave franco, jeff baena, thank you very much. the move wree is the 4reu8 hours. >> for more about this program and earlier episode soweds visit us online at pbs.org and charlie rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> announcer: the following kqed production was produced in high definition. ♪ must have soup! >> the pancake is to die for! >> it was a gut bomb, but i liked it. >> i actually fantasize in private moments about the food i had. >> i didn't like it. >> you didn't like it? >> dining here makes me feel rich. >> and what about dessert? pecan pie, sweet potato pie?